Review: Vigil - A Deep, Dark Mystery

Ruth Harrison discusses the BBC's new release and the terror it brings to the little screen...

Ruth Harrison
11th October 2021
Image Credit: IMDb
The BBC’s recent crime drama, Vigil – centered around the mysterious death of a crew member onboard a British nuclear submarine – has awoken a fear of submarines that I didn’t know I had. As Detective Amy Silva is dragged down to the depths of the ocean to investigate the death - and subsequently forced to confront her own crippling claustrophobia, the secrets and lies begin to unravel causing even more danger.  

The series is six episodes long which does seem unusual for a BBC crime thriller as they are more commonly shorter with 3-4 episodes. However, the writing is so good it keeps the intrigue consistent throughout - using red herrings, subplots and plot twists that give the audience some satisfaction without revealing the central mystery. The main character, Amy, with her tragic past and her relationship with colleague Kirsten, as well as her commitment to finding the truth make her a perfect protagonist

Credit: IMDb

Putting aside the constant paranoia and suspicion onboard Vigil, there are many things about the sub which send a chill down my spine. For one, the interior is tunnel-like and cramped and DCI Silva’s bed leaves barely any room for movement, whilst the continual plunging causes her motion sickness. From the outside, the chilling close ups that show the huge, sharklike submarine ploughing through the murky, endless blue of the ocean are extremely ominous. The fact that they seem to very easily have mechanical issues which nearly cause the whole submarine to flood or blow up terrifies me. Therefore, it triggers an immense sympathy for DCI Silva who’s trapped down there (especially during a certain scene with the torpedo tube!)  

The way I always judge a good crime drama is if it had a shocking ending and Vigil passed this test with flying colours. When the truth was discovered, without giving too much away, I was surprised not so much by the identity of the killer but by the motive which was clever and unsuspecting. Because of this, I really enjoyed Vigil and if you’re brave enough to face the menacing submarine, then I bet you would too. 

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  1. I have been meaning to watch it. This review has made me think about it again and is back on my ‘to watch it’ list.

  2. The authors critique of the series is chilling and precise.I love the way she encapsulates the detail and emotive atmosphere of the darkness and mystique of the submarine .
    It will inspire people to rush to watch it .

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